This is not intended to dissuade anyone from speaking up, I just found it speaking. -rg
By Paul Craig Roberts
January 26, 2009
“The evidence is sitting on the table. There is no avoiding the fact
that this was torture.”
These are the words of Manfred Nowak, the UN official appointed by
the Commission on Human Rights to examine cases of torture. Nowak has
concluded that President Obama is legally obligated to prosecute former
President George W. Bush and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
If President Obama’s bankster economic team finishes off what remains
of the US economy, Obama, to deflect the public’s attention from
his own failures and Americans’ growing hardships, might fulfill
his responsibility to prosecute Bush and Rumsfeld. But for now the
interesting question is why did the US military succumb to illegal
In the December 2008 issue of CounterPunch, Alexander Cockburn, in
his report on an inglorious chapter in the history of the Harvard Law
School, provides the answer. Two brothers, Jonathan and David Lubell,
both Harvard law students, were politically active against the Korean
War. It was the McCarthy era, and the brothers were subpoenaed. They
refused to cooperate on the grounds that the subpoena was a violation
of the First Amendment.
Harvard Law School immediately began pressuring the students to
cooperate with Congre ss. The other students ostracized them. Pressures
from the Dean and faculty turned into threats. Although the
Lubells graduated magna cum laude, they were kept off the Harvard
Law Review. Their scholarships were terminated. A majority of the
Harvard Law faculty voted for their expulsion (expulsion required a
two-thirds vote).
Why did Harvard Law School betray two honor students who stood
up for the US Constitution? Cockburn concludes that the Harvard
law faculty sacrificed constitutional principle in order not to
jeopardize their own self-advancement by displeasing the government
(and no doubt donors).
We see such acts of personal cowardice every day. Recently we had the
case of Jewish scholar and Israel critic Norman Finkelstein, whose
tenure was blocked by the cowardly president of DePaul University, a
man afraid to stand up for his own faculty against the Israel Lobby,
which successfully imposed on a Catholic university the principle
that no critic of Israel can gain academic tenure.
The same calculation of self-interest causes American journalists
to serve as shills for Israeli and US government propaganda and
the US Congress to endorse Israeli war crimes that the rest of the
world condemns.
When US military officers saw that torture was a policy coming down
from the top, they knew that doing the right thing would cost them
their careers. They trimmed their sails. One who did not was Major
General An tonio Taguba. Instead of covering up the Abu Ghraib prison
torture scandal, General Taguba wrote an honest report that terminated
his career.
Despite legislation that protects whistleblowers, it is always the
whistleblower, not the wrongdoer, who suffers. When it finally became
public that the Bush regime was committing felonies under US law by
using the NSA to spy on Americans, the Justice (sic) Department went
after the whistleblower.
Nothing was done about the felonies.
Yet Bush and the Justice (sic) Department continued to assert that
“we are a nation of law.”
The Bush regime was a lawless regime. This makes it difficult for
the Obama regime to be a lawful one. A torture inquiry would lead
naturally into a war crimes inquiry. General Taguba said that the
Bush regime committed war crimes.
President Obama was a war criminal by his third day in office when he
ordered illegal cross-border drone attacks on Pakistan that murdered
20 people, including 3 children. The bombing and strafing of homes
and villages in Afghanistan by US forces and America’s NATO puppets
are also war crimes.
Obama cannot enforce the law, because he himself has already
violated it.
For decades the US government has taken the position that Israel’s
territorial expansion is not constrained by any international law. The
US government is complicit in Israel’s war crimes in Lebanon, Gaza
and the West Bank.
The entire world knows that Israel is guilty of war crimes and that
the US government made the crimes possible by providing the weapons
and diplomatic support. What Israel and the US did in Lebanon and
Gaza is no different from crimes for which Nazis were tried at
Nuremberg. Israel understands this, and the Israeli government is
currently preparing its defense, which will be led by Israeli Justice
(sic) Minister Daniel Friedman. UN war crimes official Richard Falk
has compared Israel’s massacre of Gazans to the Nazi starvation
and massacre of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto. Amnesty International
and the Red Cross have demanded Israel be held accountable for war
crimes. Even eight Israeli human rights groups have called for an
investigation into Israel’s war crimes.
Obama’s order to close Guantanamo Prison means very
little. Essentially, Obama’s order is a public relations event. The
tribunal process had already been shut down by US courts and by
military lawyers, who refused to prosecute the fabricated cases. The
vast majority of the prisoners were hapless individuals captured
by Afghan warlords and sold for money to the stupid Americans as
“terrorists.” Most of the prisoners, people the Bush regime told us
were “the most dangerous people alive,” have already been released.
Obama’s order said nothing about closing the CIA’s secret prisons or
halting the illegal practice o f rendition in which the CIA kidnaps
people and sends them to third world countries, such as Egypt, to
be tortured.
Obama would have to take risks that opportunistic politicians never
take in order for the US to become a nation of law instead of a nation
in which the agendas of special interests override the law.
Truth cannot be spoken in America. It cannot be spoken in
universities. It cannot be spoken in the media. It cannot be spoken
in courts, which is why defendants and defense attorneys have given
up on trials and cop pleas to lesser offenses that never occurred.
Truth is never spoken by government. As Jonathan Turley said recently,
Washington “is where principles go to die.”
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in
the Reagan administration. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good
Intentions.He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com